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An Overview of Adults With Special Needs

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Adults with special needs are individuals over the age of 18 who have a medical condition or disability. People in this group may include:

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  • A spouse with a chronic illness or an acquired disability
  • A child with a developmental disorder transitioning to adulthood
  • A family member with complex needs, who requires assistance to live on their own

Supporting adult family members with complex needs or sustaining your own health and well-being as a person with special needs may involve collaboration with a variety of support systems and community-based services. Assistance may include access to nonclinical case management, referrals to mental health services and public benefits, and provision of assistive technology and adaptive equipment to help with overcoming limitations.

The adult child with special needs

An adult child with special needs:

  • May receive academic services through an individualized education program, or IEP
  • May require transition support as they reach the age of majority
  • May remain under guardianship or incapacitated adult status
  • May require assistance to live on their own

Military resources and support

There are a number of military programs and resources available to support service members as they carry out their duties. These programs and resources include:

Equal opportunity for individuals with special needs

Civilian and military advocates who worked to bring about legal, medical and social changes to address the needs of individuals with special needs, have paved the way for improved services and resources in many areas. These groups have encouraged the passage of three important laws:

For more information about how to receive assistance, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Independent living

Support for managing daily life is available to military families. Service members can receive assistance in the following ways:

To find more resources and information to support your family member with special needs:

Military OneSource special needs consultants can answer your questions and concerns about the care and education of your child or adult family member with special needs. Call us at 800-342-9647. OCONUS? View calling options.

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